El Classico

Barcelona, Real Madrid produce most players in Europe’s top 5 leagues

A study by the CIES Football Observatory reports that three of the most historic clubs in European football – La Liga rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona, ​​and Eredivisie giants Ajax – contribute more to the future of the game than any other team on the continent.

For example, Ajax is so committed to maintaining its spirit of producing first-class young players that the name of the sports complex “De ToeKomst” in the Amsterdam team literally translates to “the future”. So it probably comes as no surprise to learn that Ajax ranked first in the latest Swiss-based CIES complied study, which examines the clubs responsible for producing the most active players at the top echelons of European football.

Across 31 major divisions among UEFA member states, Ajax has trained 81 currently active players. This equates to more than seven starting players in the starting lineup, and is six more than the next team on the list, Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine.

CIES also considered at the elite level. Barcelona may have lost to Real Madrid 2-1 at home in the last edition of classic (Stream replays on ESPN+ in the US), but they top the top when only Europe’s top five leagues are taken into account, each having produced 42 players who are currently active in clubs across the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and the First Division.

For the study, CIES followed UEFA’s official definition of a “coach’s club”, which means a young player must have spent at least three years at the club between the ages of 15 and 21 to qualify. CIES used a custom lab to generate its data and produce a “Training Index” rating for all clubs in all 31 European football divisions that are based on the club’s sporting level, i.e. their results in domestic and international competition.

The level of productivity of all coaching clubs also takes into account the average number of matches played by “young coaches” over the past year, as well as the average age of individual players (the younger, the better).

Here are the main talking points from the CIES study, to see which of the big clubs in Europe have the best results.

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Elite production line for Barcelona and Real Madrid

The two La Liga giants sit at the top of the table when it comes to the young players being produced and currently playing in the top five leagues in Europe. Both clubs have produced 42 players who currently represent them or another club in the most powerful UEFA Elite League.

Among the alumni of the club’s famous academy, La Masia, are old Barcelona players Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets, as well as recent graduates such as Ansu Fati, Gavi, Oscar Mingueza and Riqui Puig. Pedri, one of Barcelona’s other young stars, did not qualify because he signed from Las Palmas last year. They also have several notable youth producers playing elsewhere in Europe including Lionel Messi (Paris Saint-Germain), Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool), Cesc Fabregas (Monaco) and Adama Traore (Wolverhampton Wanderers).

Among the current Real Madrid stars: Lucas Vazquez, Dani Carvajal and Nacho, as well as Achraf Hakimi at Paris Saint-Germain, Juan Mata (Manchester United), Marcos Alonso (Chelsea), Sergio Reguilon (Tottenham Hotspur) and Alvaro Morata (Tottenham Hotspur). Juventus).

However, while the average age of the Barcelona squad (26.3 years) is slightly higher than that of Real (27.1), eggs It tops the chart slightly thanks to its players playing slightly more games on average.

Ajax exports cover Europe

Among the top 31 divisions of European football included in the study, no team produced more players who played than Ajax. In fact, the average age of their 81 active players is 26.3 years and they averaged 27.3 club appearances last year.

Frenkie de Jong and Matthias de Ligt are two clear examples of players who learned de Tocumst’s methods before moving on to bigger and more famous things at Barcelona and Juventus respectively.

Ryan Gravenberch is another highly-rated player who has made a name for himself as part of Eric ten Hag’s squad, and seems poised to follow the likes of Sergino Dest (Barcelona), Justin Kluivert (Nice, on loan from Roma) and Donny van de Beek. (Manchester United) out of the Dutch league in the future.

Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain ranks high

Although Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain did not top the list, they ranked very high in each of Europe’s five major leagues and in all of the top 31 divisions in the study. Arsenal outperform PSG on aggregate in Europe, having produced 51 players who are currently plying their deals across Europe compared to PSG’s 47-man squad.

The Gunners can claim to have played pivotal early roles in the careers of Alex Iwobi (Everton), Hector Bellerin (on loan from Real Betis), Wojciech Szczesny (Juventus), Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Francis Coquelin (Villarreal), Alex. Oxlade Chamberlain (Liverpool) and Theo Walcott (Southampton).

However, once reduced to the top five leagues, PSG (30 players) climbed above Arsenal (25) in the standings with the Parisians fifth in the overall list. Thanks in large part to the abundance of former academy players who are now either on their current squad (like World Cup winner Presnel Kimpembe) or on the books in other Ligue 1 teams. PSG has many notable alumni playing elsewhere as well, with Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Christopher Nkunko (Leipzig) and Mike Minyan (AC Milan), all notable examples.

Manchester United and Chelsea add to the Premier League

While Arsenal is the most productive club for English coaches in Europe’s top five leagues, Manchester United and Chelsea are not far behind – they ranked ninth and tenth respectively on the list, with each producing 23 players.

However, the Blues can boast a much younger average lifespan among their crops (24 years), with United’s average lifespan (28.5 years) among the highest on the list (the highest being SC Bastia in France, with 31.4 years).

United have promoted the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood from the youth ranks to the first team while players like Angel Gomez (Lille), Jonny Evans (Leicester City), Danny Welbeck (Brighton), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Tom Cleverly (Watford) and Michael Caine ( Everton) have built their career since they left Old Trafford.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have seen youth producer Mason Mount become one of the team’s most important players, Trevoh Chalobah emerged as a key player this season, and former Blues academy players now playing elsewhere such as Tammy Abraham (Roma) and Fikayo. Tomori (AC Milan), Nathan Ake (Manchester City).

ESPN’s Alex Kirkland, Julian Lorenz, Sam Marsden, James Ole and Andrew Richardson contributed to this report.


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